The Beginning of a Dream, Lencer's Story

A young woman's journey navigating Kibera as a mother and a mentor working toward her dream career

Lencer Akinyi Onyancha, a devoted daughter and mother, understands the reality of unemployment all too well. Though Lencer is one of the 60% of Kenyan youth that is considered underemployed she didn't let that stop her from working toward achieving her dream of becoming a Computer Technician. Learn how Lencer overcomes the challenges of being a single mother, supporting her family that is over 8 hours away, and learning to create a new home away from home through Carolina for Kibera.

April 16, 2019

It is no secret that the youth of Kenya are brimming with anticipation to create change and contribute to their communities. Unfortunately, potential and ambition are often not enough to propel young Kenyans into the workforce. In fact, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the average rate of unemployment among Kenyans ages (14-24) is at 40% while underemployment stands around 60%.

Lencer Akinyi Onyancha, a devoted daughter and mother, understands the reality of unemployment all too well. After finishing high school Lencer ventured out with her daughter to Nairobi, 8 hours from her hometown, in hopes to make a life for herself while continuing to support her daughter and 6 siblings back in the County of Migori.

However, employment didn’t come quickly or easily. As Lencer thinks back to her early days in Nairobi she remembers the “stress and pressure of being in a big city and expectation of supporting family back at home,” but she didn’t let that stop her creating connections within her community. A local campaign led her to Carolina for Kibera’s Girls Empowerment Program (GEP), which she felt “identified with [her] challenges” and gave her a sense of belonging. Lencer began giving back to CFK almost immediately by serving as a mentor for the GEP, sharing her experiences of being a teenage mother in high school, and providing girls a safe space to work through challenges they faced. Serving as a mentor didn’t only benefit Lencer’s mentees –through mentoring she learned how to overcome many of her own challenges. As she continued leading sessions she opened up about her dream of a career in computer technology.

Lencer Akinyi Onyancha - Aspiring computer technician and top of her ICT class is known to her colleagues as a devoted mother, daughter, sister, and mentor who continues to give back to her family and community.

“Ever since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated by technology and how it makes life easy, and I had thought of myself as being a computer technician at some point in my life.”

Carolina for Kibera's most recent ICT Graduating Class
March 2019

Lencer’s work with the GEP led her to enroll in CFK’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Program, housed within the Young Health and Wellness Program. The ICT Program is a 4 month intensive that provides a working knowledge of basic computer packages. The program is designed to increase youth employability and entrepreneurship.

Though it started as a dream, Lencer completed the ICT Program, graduated at the top of her class, and is even closer to becoming a computer technician! Looking back fondly on her experiences, Lencer has “enjoyed every minute of [her] time at CFK’s ICT Center”. Moving forward she is looking to pursue an advanced degree specializing in ICT.

At CFK we are grateful for Lencer for giving back to her CFK community and thrilled that we were able to help her begin to pursue her dreams. We are looking forward to seeing what she will do next.

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